Telecentres in rural communities are mostly conceptualized by development agencies and governments as spaces that all community members can go to and access information and communication technologies. While for the technocrats the goals of establishing telecentres might be clear, the same cannot always be said about the people who live in the communities these telecentres were set up and are meant to use and benefit from the facilities. Grounded in the frame theory, this article uses textual analysis to understand the ways in which women in rural communities in South Africa and Tanzania represented the telecentres in their locales. The paper also discusses the possible implications of framing the telecentres in the manner that the women do. A key finding is that most women interviewed in this study viewed the telecentres as places for ‘Other’ people; mostly students and educated people. This paper argues that referring to the telecentres as spaces for ‘Other’ people worked to limit the women from actually using and benefiting from the telecentres. Interestingly, there were some participants who mentioned that the telecentres were meant for everyone yet they themselves did not use them. We recommend that researchers and technocrats need to revisit and rethink the assumptions that informed the setting up of the telecentres in the first place. It might be worthwhile having conversations with community members regarding their present needs and how the telecentres can meet them.
Chigona, Wallace; Mudavanhu, Selina L.; and Lwoga, Tandi, "Framing telecentres: Accounts of women in rural communities in South Africa and Tanzania" (2016). CONF-IRM 2016 Proceedings. 43.